2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 25, 2003)
Paper No. 207-15
Presentation Time: 11:45 AM-12:00 PM

DEDICATED LAB FOR VISITING K-12 CLASSES WILL FEATURE LOCAL GEOLOGY

BEHLING, Robert E., Geology and Geography, West Virginia Univ, 425 White Hall, P.O. Box 6300, Morgantown, WV 26506-6300, rbehling@wvu.edu.

The master plan for the Department of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University calls for a move to a completely renovated building before the end of this decade. Plans submitted to the architect include construction of a dedicated laboratory for visiting K-12 classes to enhance our substantial effort of outreach to teachers and youngsters throughout the state. The lab has unquestioned support of the faculty, chair, and dean of the college, and will enable the faculty of WVU to engage in a joint effort with the state Geological Survey and the Science Education cadre from nearby Fairmont State College. The lab will allow for same-day analysis of collections and observations made at local field sites, so that both local geology and teaching through discovery will be the agenda for students and teachers respectively.

The local geology is modest when measured against world-class sites in North America, yet there is so much available to enrich the minds of middle-school and high school students: Mississippian age marine units, fossils in the Ames formation (Pennsylvanian), the depositional history of rocks of the upper Pennsylvanian coal measures, the Appalachian Plateaus-open fold section and plate tectonic history, glacial-lake Monongahela sediments, mass wasting, the environmental lessons of both surface-mining and subsurface mining of coal (and subsequent subsidence), acid mine drainage, mine-land reclamation, flooding, and more. Students can return more than once in their K-12 years without ever repeating a content-based experience.

This plan is a logical extension of over 30 years of offering K-12 teachers and students an opportunity to share our love of geology. In the past decade alone, our joint effort has reached more than 230 educators in West Virginia through well in excess of 8,000 distinct "teacher experiences" in the field.

As wondrous as a great day in the field can be, we believe that we can significantly enhance the experience by offering a well equipped lab (microscopes, maps, computers, GIS mapping, water analysis, etc.) that will allow students to experience the connection between field and lab. Their discoveries and observations will, we submit, be that much more meaningful.

2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 25, 2003)
Session No. 207
Teaching Local Geology: An NAGT Session In Honor of Robert Christman
Washington State Convention and Trade Center: 2A
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 35, No. 6, September 2003, p. 525

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